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The stats that explain how Sweden has been affected by gun crime

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The stats that explain how Sweden has been affected by gun crime
Police cordons at the scene of a fatal shooting in Umeå earlier this year. Photo: Samuel Pettersson / TT
15:47 CET+01:00
A total of 33 people have died in shootings in Sweden in 2019 so far. The Local looked into police statistics to find out how this compares to recent years, and which regions have seen the biggest rises and falls in gun crime.

Police figures show that the number of shootings have remained steady in most places, including the capital Stockholm and southern city of Malmö, but that in some regions and most notably in northern Sweden, they have risen sharply over the past three years.

There were a total of 268 reported shootings across Sweden in 2019 up until October 31st. 

This figure includes all "confirmed shootings" which were considered criminal and not the result of an apparent accident. Confirmed shootings include those with more than one eyewitness or with clear evidence of a gun being fired, such as empty cartridges, and they include both shots aimed at people as well as those aimed at objects, for example, signage or vehicles. 

In 2018, the total number of shootings in the whole of Sweden was 306 which included 45 fatalities and 135 non-fatal injuries, which compared to 324 shootings, 43 fatalities, and 139 non-fatal injuries in 2017.

The statistics looked at how many shootings took place in each of the country's police authority regions: Stockholm (covering Stockholm and Gotland), southern Sweden (Skåne, Blekinge, Kalmar and Kronoberg counties), central Sweden (Uppsala, Gävleborg and Västmanland counties), western Sweden (Halland and Västra Götaland counties), eastern Sweden (Jönköping, Södermanland and Östergötland counties), northern Sweden (Jämtland, Norrbotten, Västerbotten and Västernorrland counties), and Bergslagen (which refers to central-western Sweden, covering Dalarna, Örebro and Värmland counties). 

Of these regions, Stockholm had the highest number of shootings with 70 so far this year, followed by southern Sweden which has seen 50 shootings and central Sweden with 41.

When it comes to fatal shootings, there have been 33 victims in all of Sweden in 2019.

Almost half (15) of these took place in Stockholm, while seven took place in southern Sweden, four in the Bergslagen region and three each in northern and central Sweden. 

A further 91 people nationwide have been injured in shootings so far this year.

Again, most injuries from firearms (25) occurred in Stockholm, followed by southern Sweden (18), central Sweden (17), eastern Sweden (12). Ten people were injured in shootings in western Sweden, five in northern Sweden and four in Bergslagen.

While Stockholm and southern Sweden have consistently been the regions with the most gun crime and fatalities linked to shootings over the past three years, these are not the areas which have seen the biggest increase.

Northern Sweden has had 28 incidents of gun crime so far in 2019, leading to three deaths and five other injuries, but this is a significant increase from 14 firearm incidents in 2018 and just three the previous year.

After one person was killed and two injured in a shooting in the northern town of Umeå this January, a police spokesperson said it was an extremely rare incident for the town.

By contrast, Stockholm saw 119 shootings in 2017 and 95 in 2018, while southern Sweden experienced 81 in 2018 and 95 in 2017.

Sweden's crime and homicide rates are both low when compared with many other countries, and previous decades in Sweden. Since 2015, the homicide rate per 100,000 people has been higher than 1.0 each year, which is above the rate between 2002-2011 but lower than the levels of between 1.3 and 1.4 seen during the 1990s. 

For an international comparison, the homicide rate per 100,000 people was 5.0 in the USA and 1.2 in the UK in 2018.

As The Local has reported previously, while the overall murder rate has not changed much in Sweden, the proportion of murders where a gun was used has risen over the past decade. 

Since 2011, when the rate of firearm usage was first measured by the National Council on Crime Prevention (Brå), the number of gun murders has more than doubled, from 17 cases in 2011 (21 percent of total murders) to 43 in 2018 (40 percent of total murders).

 

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